Heard a funny story from former Imaging Magazine Editor Mark Young at the AIIM show this week in Phildelphia. The esteemed Mr. Young, who is now with a group called Buyers Lab, was sipping on an ice water outside the ballroom of the Ritz Carlton where Canon was holding its annual press reception. The reception is always a gala affair, (to borrow the tone of Vanity Fair diarist Dominick Dunne, and the atmosphere brought to mind tales I had heard about the Imaging Magazine parties of years gone by. Unfortunately, at the time the last of these were taking place, I was a cub reporter cutting my teeth with Imaging rival Business Solutions (then Business Systems) and not on the invite list.
The official reason for these parties were Imaging Magazine “Product of the Year or Best of AIIM” or whatever they were called awards, which Young indicated were only half-serious. “One year, we named a pen the best analog input device,” Young recalled. The real reason for the parties and the awards was to service Imaging Magazine’s customers, aka. its advertisers. Eventually, under the guidance of Doug Henschen and Miller-Freeman and eventually CMP, the Best of AIIM awards took on a more serious tone – but we’re not sure if that was so good for the industry or for Imaging, for that matter…
So, without further adieu (and about an hour of time to kill as I sit on a runway in Philadelphia) in the spirit of the old Imaging Magazine Product of the Year awards—in other words don’t take these too seriously—here are the first even DIR AIIM Awards. I only wish I had a drink to offer you before you read on:
1. Man of the Year: This one goes to Captiva President and CEO Reynolds Bish because he be da’ man. After completing the acquisition of SWT this month, he will be on target for more than $100 million in profitable revenue next year. Bish even boasted he plans to surpass more than $200 million in revenue in three years. You go Reynolds! As I sat with him at AIIM, we recalled AIIM 2002 in S.F., just three years earlier when his company merged with InputAccel (aka ActionPoint) in what looked like a marriage of floundering companies. Who knew all Reynolds needed was a little cash in the bank and a listing on the Nasdaq to become a true ECM heavyweight? During the first six months following the merger, we saw Captiva’s stock drop all the way below a dollar a share. How many companies have ever recovered successfully from that type of devaluation? Well, check the boards, Captiva certainly has and how. And as we wrote in the last issue of DIR, the SWT merger really makes sense.
2. Product of the Year: Indicius 5.0. Did you see this thing? Great stuff. Kofax has finally figured out how to leverage the Mohomine technology they bought a couple of years ago. They’ve taken SWT what SWT does for Captiva and have gone a step further. Their killer app is currently automatic document separation without separator sheets. Really cool stuff — to paraphrase Kofax PR guru Michael Troncale.
3. Newcomer of the Year: Peladon Software – Yes, the Mitek renegades were out in force. Got to love their technology for eliminating high-confidence character mistakes.
4. Robot of the Year: You all saw it. I know you were talking about it. That 4DigitalBooks thing from Sweden sure made some interesting entertainment. They should have been charging people to see it. (Wouldn’t that be an interesting marketing ploy? Do you think it would drive up booth traffic if you charged like a quarter or something just to give people the feeling that they were going to a show?)
5. Company of the Year: Hyland Software. What can you say? They show up every year with that huge stadium booth – give away cool gifts like real baseballs and staff their area what seems like 200 people. Always a good buzz around that booth. Hats off to A.J. for setting the tone for the whole spirit of the company.
That’s about it for now. Once again, I’m sorry for not having a party to throw with my awards. Something we’ll have to work on for the future.